What a fascinating episode. The last few episodes have been very confusing and confounding for me, so it was nice to have a simpler episode, but one which was no less emotionally and thematically relevant and complex.
Let’s talk normal for a second. For as long as I’ve been watching Supernatural, Sam and Dean have always been “normal.” Just two brothers with an incredible destiny and job thrust upon them. The thing that shocked me about this episode is it showed all of the things that we normally don’t get to see about the Winchesters’ lives. Sam getting sick? I’m sure that’s happened. We’ve just never seen it on-screen. Something going wrong with Baby? Probably not the first time. Just the first time we’ve really seen it on-screen (Episode “Baby” notwithstanding). The things that make it more unusual are the cavities and clumsiness of it all. I think the point of the episode was to show us that Sam and Dean are human, despite their seemingly superhuman hunting abilities. Additionally, the mirror presented by Garth, who is now superhuman as a werewolf, living a wonderful, normal life with his wife and three children. Because of these “normal people problems” Sam and Dean are required to rely on someone else to help them out of a scrape. It’s happened before, but not often enough for it not to stand out.
Now onto Garth! I love Garth so much and I am so happy that he got the send-off he did in this episode. I was worried we were going to see him die, but knowing that he’s around made my heart happy. Seeing him living his happy life despite the pain of hunting and being turned into a werewolf, gives me hope for the rest of the season. I’m also thrilled by the idea that Garth is the one to rescue the Winchesters because when we first met Garth, and I think for a long time, we’ve seen him as a hunter, but more than that as a goofball there to provide comedic relief and release the tension. In this episode, we got to see Garth as that, but also as a parent, a husband, and a competent and smart hunter. Because of his smarts, he was able to rescue the Winchesters and kill the monsters, the vampire as the exception. But even then, Garth was able to take down the remaining vamp with skill and smarts. This episode was a great tour de force for Garth, and DJ Qualls brought it hard. (Side note: huge love to DJ on coming out! So proud of you!)
I also think it’s fascinating the bringing in of the idea of the Heroes’ Journey. For hundreds of thousands of years, we’ve been telling stories. Joseph Campbell identified that many of our stories had similarities and defined those similarities as “The Hero’s Journey” or “The Hero of A Thousand Faces.” Most of our favorite franchises follow that journey, whether covertly or overtly. But, Supernatural has been unique because it has redefined the mythos a bit.
Most of the beginning of the arc remains the same. If Sam is our protagonist, he is called to “adventure” at the beginning of Season 1. As the arc proceeds, he goes through one variation of each of these events. The helper and mentor character could be Dean and Bobby, or they both could be Bobby. Dean begins his own hero’s journey with Sam but going through it in a different way. Cas could also be seen as a helper; then we move into the abyss, and we see how it transforms both Sam and Dean. There have been several instances of the return, but the one thing that Supernatural has changed is the ending of the arc. As this picture shows, the arc is cyclical. The same can be said for Supernatural. But, because this arc is coming to a close, the latter half of the arc has to change in order to provide closure. I think, at this point in the arc of Season 15, we’re at the point of Challenges and Temptations. We haven’t quite reached the Abyss yet, but I think it’s coming, fast and furious, based on the trip to Alaska.
Additionally, using the name “Hero of a Thousand Faces,” is interesting because we’ve seen all of our protagonists, Sam, Dean, Cas, Jack, and others play more than one character or another version of themselves. Supernatural has taken the thousand faces part seriously and has given us an opportunity to see them as not themselves and as someone totally different. It shakes up the mythos in a fabulous way, and provides for plenty of interesting character development.
Two final things: #1–THANK YOU MUSIC DEPARTMENT FOR THOSE MUSIC CUES. “Werewolves in London” was a wonderful thing, and “Let’s Misbehave” by Cole Porter was amazing. #2–That whole drug-induced dance number was a joy and credit to Jensen and DJ for learning to dance! The whole thing was amazing and so perfectly Supernatural.
Alright, I think that’s all. As normal, comments are welcomed and my social media is always here!